Garda Lake: Sarde (Shad) on the fly
Intro: the fish
The topic I am talking about in this article can be considered part of alternative fly fishing, in fact we are talking about Shad fishing (in Italy called Sarda, Agone, Sardella), not with the traditional technique but precisely with fly. This fish, smaller relative for the size of the Shad (Alosa fallax), populates the great lakes of Northern Italy, and if you go to research its history, it is a sea fish that has been trapped in these lakes (Lake Garda, Como, Iseo, Maggiore) at the time of the thaw. In fact, it seems to fish miniature Shads, in fact if the largest specimens of Shads (the females) also reach 50-55cm, the "Little Shad" Sarde or Agoni are between 15 or 25cm maximum.
Fishing for this species is usually done in the traditional way with telescopic rods using ameteers with 3-5 flies (also called larvae). But let's talk about the Shad fly fishing. To deal with the currents of the lower layers of the lake and immediately go deep and then be fishing, I use a Compact Sink Type 3 WF9/10 line, and then to cast it I use a TC 9' #9 streamer rod for pike/marble trout, which of course is disproportionate for the fish that we are going to undermine but is excellent to cast the line that I just mentioned, thus entering fishing and obtaining the result. This does not mean that #7 or #8 lines equipment can also be used because when they come under the shore, they are really shallow and a few meters away. As for the leader use, Nylon or Fluorocarbon forming a conical leader of about 2-2.5 meters from the end of the line to the last fly, which starts from 0.40 and goes down to 0.18 and in the last part with this diameter makes a couple of armrests by means of a blood knot (barrel knot or blood knot), about 50-60 cm away from each other, and a fly on the tip. The armrests are between 5 and 10 cm long. I personally feel good and I'm comfortable using 3 flies, but nobody forbids mounting 4 or 5, taking into account the difficulty during the cast and the greater possibility of tangling.
The flies that are used by fly fishing are the same as those used by traditional technique fishermen, that is, small larvettes often with bright colors. These are basically flies tied on grub hooks, using colored plastic balls, and combining Crystalflash with threads such as Micro Floss, Glitter Thread, and small chenilles like Micro Cactus.
You can see the flies for Shad and Perch directly at this link:
By fishing the Shads, several times, before the "good time" you can catch several perches.
In fact, when we see that shads do not bit because it is still too early, a small white streamer (in craft fur or bucktail) is mounted as a tip fly to target the perch, leaving the "larvae" on the two armrests. The streamer is better if it works reverse, because having a sinking line, you often get to the bottom and therefore you need a bait that has a lower risk of stranding (see Eddie's Baitfish Streamer).
Fishing: notes and curiosities
It is a very fun fishing, which is normally practiced by local fishermen on the shores of the lake in the summer months between May and August. In fact, the hottest summer evenings are the most profitable, even if other factors must also be taken into account, such as: disturbances, thunderstorms, the moon and especially the lake currents, whether from north to south or the other way around.
Often we see fishermen setting off 3-5 fishes per shot, and when everyone around you is making those numbers very frequently, then there is a really good chance of having fun with fly too! Because it indicates a massive presence of fishes at that point at that moment.
As for the technique of fly fishing, fishing consists of casting as far as you can in front of you, letting the line sink for a few seconds (based on the degree of sinking of it) and recovering. The recovery method can vary based on how we see fish respond better, therefore regular, alternate, fast, slow recovery.
The best time is the last light before total darkness, obviously referred to those like me who fly fishing, in fact in these few minutes the fish really come close to the shore and are so within easy reach of the fly rod.
During the hours before sunset, however, those who fish in the "traditional" way being able to cast far certainly have more yield than those who fly fishing.
You can fish both from the shore (for which I always advise to take stripping basket) and from the boat (or Kayak), with the latter it is easier because once positioned above the pack, the game is done and just drop the artificial!
From the shore you can choose to tackle this fishing with the waders, or, in the warmer months, in swimsuits and beach shoes (to prevent the little gobies that are among the gravel of the shore make you a pedicure!)
Last note: to practice this fishing you must always inquire about the closing times and days which vary from month to month.
Certainly not a fishing where you go looking for "big fish" but more of a challenge, that is, catching those fish, with equipment, the fly, which would not be the most effective at all!
And above all, the satisfaction is to feel the attacks of the fishes, even two/three at a time and to understand that you are correctly fishing and that you are doing things well!
A type of fishing that needs constancy, tests, and several outings to be in the right place at the right time.
Below I leave you some photos of the spots, shads and perches.
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Thanks for reading and see you soon :)